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13 April 2020
The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) and the National Ecology and Climate Chance Institute (INECC) are continuing to help Mexico achieve its climate-change-related air emissions goals through data analysis, policy management and the implementation of the emissions trading system pilot programme (for further details please see "ETS pilot programme on horizon"). As such, now is an ideal time for actors in industry and service sectors to evaluate their air emissions obligations.
Under the General Law for Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection and its Regulations on the Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Contamination, the primary obligation which applies to industrial operations that constitute federal fixed sources is securing a sole environmental licence (LAU) or maintaining an air emissions functioning licence (a legacy permit granted under the previous regulation). Non-federal fixed sources must comply with state regulations.
LAUs cover all air emissions-related equipment, machinery, chimneys and ducts, as well as control devices, for industrial operations.
LAU holders should keep track of their air emissions sampling and analysis obligations under the applicable official standards (ie, NOM-086-SEMARNAT-1994 and NOM-043-SEMARNAT-1993). In addition, LAU holders must file an annual operations report (COA) setting out various information on their industrial operations, including air emissions monitoring results, through SEMARNAT's online system between 1 March and 30 June.
Further, following the enactment of the General Law for Climate Change and its Regulations on the National Emissions Registry, entities in several industry and service sectors (regardless of whether they hold an LAU) must file greenhouse gas-related information through the COA system on the emission of specific compounds, including carbon dioxide, methane, black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons. However, such information must be filed only when the combined operations of the entity's facilities result in the emission of 25,000 tons or more of equivalent carbon dioxide (which is calculated using a SEMARNAT-issued methodology).
The industry and service sectors which must report greenhouse gas emissions are listed in the Regulations on the National Emissions Registry and include the automotive, paper manufacturing, mining, food, transport (air and ground), hotel and hospital industries.
According to the General Law for Climate Change and its Regulations on the National Emissions Registry, the INECC should analyse the information and data gathered from COA reports in order to create, modify and direct the policies necessary to ensure that Mexico meets its climate change-related goals. Thus, industry and service actors should closely follow the results that the INECC publishes and keep track of SEMARNAT's air emission policies.
Considering the current preventive sanitary measures in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, additional obligations may apply to certain facilities. The regulations to the General Law for Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection state that all federal air emissions sources must file a notice with SEMARNAT upon the suspension and resumption of operations.
Nonetheless, and since SEMARNAT is currently in operational shutdown, industrial facilities should record and maintain relevant evidence of their suspension procedures and the measures implemented to avoid generating air emissions that could affect the environment during such period, including when conducting maintenance work.
Further, and again taking into account SEMARNAT's shutdown, COA reporting obligations remain in force as described above. Thus, COAs should be filed online before 30 June 2020.
Finally, in anticipation of authorised laboratories resuming their sampling and analysis of air emissions, parties should note the shutdown period and follow deadlines for carrying out air emissions testing once it has ended.
For further information on this topic please contact Brenda A Rogel Salgado, Jeanett Trad Nacif, Mario Jorge Yanez or Javier Camacho at Hogan Lovells BSTL, SC by telephone (+52 55 5091 0000) or email (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org). The Hogan Lovells BSTL, SC website can be accessed at www.hoganlovells.com.
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Brenda A Rogel Salgado
Jeanett Trad Nacif
Mario Jorge Yanez